Washington Post: Yes, We Need To Give Up Liberty For Security

from the oh-really-now? dept

By now you've probably seen the paraphrase of a Ben Franklin quote that those who give up liberty for security, deserve neither (he said similar things a few different ways, but the standard actual quote is: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.") Whatever the actual quote is, there is quite a lot of truth to it. Giving up liberty for the sake of security rarely works out as planned. Either way, it appears that the editorial board of the Washington Post is either wholly unfamiliar with the quote, or believes it to be untrue. It has come out with an editorial arguing in favor of extending the FISA Amendments Act (and against an ACLU/EFF challenge to the law, to be heard today at the Supreme Court, even with the crazy weather) saying that it is perfectly fine to "give up liberty" for security:
Discomfort with the government’s capacity, technical or legal, to collect and retain massive amounts of personal information is understandable. But the 2008 FISA amendments sought a compromise between two essential goals: preserving American liberty and robustly defending Americans’ lives and property. We favored the law and believe that it should be extended.
That's somewhat ridiculous. After all, as we've noted over and over again, almost no one seems to understand what's actually in the FISA Amendments Act, in part because there's a secret interpretation of it that only the government knows. This means that many, many people, including those in Congress, are clearly misrepresenting what's in the law. The fact that the NSA refuses to say how often it has used this secret interpretation to spy on Americans should be a pretty big warning sign -- especially as politicians who are either clueless or ignorant claim that it can't be used to spy on Americans.

And really, this is the root of the "don't give up liberty for security" quote. Once you do that, you're cooked, because it's a situation that only expands in one direction. Those who seek to hold back liberty will always make use of scare stories and FUD to seek to be able to spy further. You would think that the editorial board of the Washington Post, which has been covering this kind of mess for quite some time, would actually have some sort of ability to look back at history. Apparently its historical knowledge is close to nil.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 10:36am

    I'm just gonna say it

    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty or security.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 10:39am

    If the threat was real and not a made up bogeyman pulled out of the Govt collective arses then they MIGHT have some tangential point. Worse than giving up liberty for temporary safety is doing it for an imaginary over-hyped threat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 10:40am

    Be informed! Search Google, YouTube & Facebook for more information. Stop the Patriot Act & The NDAA!!!

    http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/issues/civil-liberties

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 10:46am

    They aren't even addressing the law yet

    They'd love to get to a point where they can address the constitutionality of the law. This whole supreme court case is just to find out whether they can claim standing without absolute evidence that they were wiretapped.

    (and we've seen previously where even absolute evidence is not enough if the feds are allowed pull out the state secrets card).

     

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  5.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 10:49am

    How will history remember us, in this time?

    (blurb from fictional(?) future historical article)
    "The Peoples' Federal Republic of Amerika was one of the most successful fascist regimes of the 21st century, enduring primarily thru a campaign of relentless brainwashing where the oppressed citizens fervently believe in their 'freedom' despite ever-mounting evidence to the contrary..."

     

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  6. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 10:56am

    The "Naive Mike" makes an appearance.

    Is it credible that you believe the Washington Post to be honest in any degree? To have any editorial policy except worship power? Do you NOT know that it's the establishment paper just as Pravda? -- No. -- So why do you write as if you're that naive? -- It's one of the humorous mysteries that hold me here.

    At #3 AC: "Search Google, YouTube & Facebook" are just corporate fronts for the power structure that inflicts on us the "Patriot Act" and NDAA.

    Let me give ya a sports analogy: The team owners not only own both teams, but the playing field, control the rules and the referees, get a slice of the concession, own the TV rights and all branded products, and get the gov't to tax you to build the playing field and roads specially for it, while they (the NFL for sure) are tax-exempt. -- It's not juse win-win for them, it's WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN in every area. So too has the ruling class got EVERY every area under nearly total control.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 11:01am

    Re:

    I wouldn't bother normally but...
    STOP FUCKING PIMPING YOUR CANDIDATE.
    Your adding nothing to the discussion, instead hoping to SEO your candidate to success. Its not going to happen.
    I would hope that everyone just reports everything you post so it goes the hell away until such time your here to actually participate instead of promote your candidate.

    Now DIAFIRL and go away, the grownups are trying to talk.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 11:06am

    Could it just be they wish to keep it going so they continue to have stories to write about?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 11:10am

    Re: The "Naive Mike" makes an appearance.

    Nice job diverting the message. While I can believe they are owned by the enemy, They can be used to get the right message if you research with your mind and not just your eyes. Blessed Be

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 11:15am

    Re: They aren't even addressing the law yet

    In cases where the government is effectively arguing that there is no one that has standing to question a particular law, I think the concept of standing should be thrown out.

    We are all harmed by the government doing unconstitutional things in our name, regardless of whether they are doing unconstitutional things to us, or others.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 11:20am

    Re: The "Naive Mike" makes an appearance.

    ootb, you are going through an insanity surge. This one is particularly aggressive since you seem to be in a blind rage attack spree against Mike (amusingly you got it right this time, he actually wrote it!). I recommend you resume taking your medicine or the white clothing people will take you back to the insane asylum once again. Sure it was nice last time they did it since you stayed a long time away from TD not bothering us with the sewage you spew every time you post.. Never mind, forget the medicine.

     

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  12.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 11:21am

    it's a situation that only expands in one direction
    That's simply not true. It's just that when it expands the other direction (back towards liberty) there's usually a lot of deaths that occur; either the deaths of those who sought less liberty, or by the hands of those who sought less liberty.

     

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  13.  
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    The Real Michael, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 11:49am

    Practically every major "news"-paper is filled with op-ed propaganda, hit-man pieces, agenda-driven columns, et al. That the Washington Post so readily disregards our rights and freedoms, i.e. the foundation on which this country was built, should come as a surprise to noone.

    If you want to experience security (state hospitality at its finest), try living in a prison. There you'll be fed, clothed, bathed, and closely monitored at all times -- you'll have everything you need, except freedom. This is in essence what the Washington Post and others are pushing for.

    History doesn't lie: most of the greatest atrocities were committed under the guise of peace and security, such as Hitler disarming the German people and putting up posters telling people to spy on and turn in dissidents, before all hell broke loose. Much like our country, the Germans were all wrapped up in their national pride, believing themselves to be the 'superior race' to the point where they became blind or indifferent to the atrocities they were committing.

    As the old saying goes, those who forget about history are doomed to repeat it.

     

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  14.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 11:50am

    Why Terrorism?

    Why all the focus on giving up liberties to prevent terrorism? Murder in the US over the past 10 years, accounts for about 100x more deaths than terrorism. If giving up liberties wasn't necessary to combat murder then why is it needed in the "war on terror".

    Makes me laugh every time I see or hear "war on terror".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 12:01pm

    Elect me, anonymous poster, president, and I promise you, I will make it legal to set WaPo "journalists" or anyone else making shit for brains statements like this on fire. Thank you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

    Re:

    Citation needed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    The eejit (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

    Re: The "Naive Mike" makes an appearance.

    AS afellow tinfoil hat-wearer, stop making me look good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Bengie, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 12:12pm

    !!!

    Those who have not had to use gorilla warfare to defend their liberty from their own government should not be speaking about such topics.

    Maybe we need to start up the whole communist scare again?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    The Washington Post is full of left-wing liberal nut-cases and they support anything from the Obama Administration. I guarantee you that if this were a Republican administration, the Washington Post's role would be reversed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 12:28pm

    Re:

    It's amazing how what is considered left wing in the US would be considered right of centre in other Western countries.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 12:38pm

    Do the newspapers realize their liberties will be amobgst the first to go.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 12:53pm

    Re:

    the propaganda machines are never the first to go, they need to keep promoting the message.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Rob, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    You make a good point about priorities

    Maybe instead of wiretapping, obnoxious airport security, secret laws, etc., we could seize all the cigarettes

    Am I kidding? Am I serious? I don't know, maybe, maybe not.

    But think about it. The CDC estimates 443,000 US deaths per year from smoking. That's almost 150 September Elevenths every year.

    If we were to trade some liberty to save lives, wouldn't that be a better deal? I'm sure that a look at the CDC death statistics could suggest a few other better trade-offs as well.

    Or is terrorism different somehow? Is it because 3000 people died spectacularly in just a few specific locations in one day, vs. the 6000 or so people who died that day of cancer, heart and lung disease, one-by-one, in hospitals, homes and hospices?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re:

    Yes they become government mouth pieces. They couldn't go hunting politicians for example, which they do at the moment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    Rob, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 1:10pm

    Re:

    I don't think I agree with you about the Post's viewpoint, but one thing that wouldn't be reversed if we had a Republican administration is the "war on terror" and the associated infringements on freedom and liberty. Allowing the executive to get away with totalitarian BS is totally bi-partisan. Did Repub congresses try to stop Bush? Did Dem congresses, either? How about the Repubs's stopping Obama? Or the Dems?

    Congress has abdicated its role in providing checks and balances to presidential power, and neither party is interested in changing that. And Presidents like the power, and neither party's candidates are willing to give that up either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    skinny poppy (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 1:36pm

    We are turning into a nation of wimps and wusses by the idiots in government who insist there's a terrorist/hacker/exploit/fill in the blank threat under the bed, around the corner, waiting for the flight/bus/train/subway you're about to get on, bugging your phone/home/workspace, tracking your car, etc.

    Excuse me, but those very government officials have no clue about the internets. Most of them probably believe Al Gore invented it. And their complete lack of knowledge is the best reason for them to leave their grubby little mitts and their increasingly ill-informed, poorly-intended laws as far away as possible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    Alana (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 1:47pm

    Re:

    Spoilers: Romney would do worse than Obama.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Mr. Applegate, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 1:54pm

    Re:

    "Elect me, anonymous poster, president, and I promise you, I will make it legal to set WaPo "journalists" or anyone else making shit for brains statements like this on fire. Thank you."

    Sorry, I don't want to smell that shit pile burning! Just bury it and be done with it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Mr. Applegate, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re:

    "Congress has abdicated its role in providing checks and balances to presidential power, and neither party is interested in changing that. And Presidents like the power, and neither party's candidates are willing to give that up either."

    And yet we are willing to elect and send the same @sshats back every cycle.

    I don't care what your party affiliation is if you want to send a clear message (If your tired of being fed the same crap year after year) don't vote for ANY incumbent. Once we have cleared out the people that have been bought and paid for a couple of times, they might actually remember who they work for. [Hint: it isn't all those suits that send lobbyists your way, it is the ones that pull the lever every 2, 4, or 6 years.]

    So PULL A DIFFERENT LEVER THIS YEAR. Vote them all out of a job!

    /rant

    I now return you to your regularly scheduled OOTB rants.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Mr. Applegate, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re:

    I honestly don't think that is possible. But I don't think he would do any better either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Re:

    Just report the post and stop being such a pompous exhibitionist. No one's impressed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    And yet we are willing to elect...
    Who's "we"? You're mistaken, I don't own a pharmaceutical company or a bank.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Rob, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 2:22pm

    Doesn't matter (even though you're probably right)

    The president should avoid abusing the law and take pains to uphold the Constitution as promised, even when the going gets tough. But if the Congress and courts are asleep and unwilling to check his power, all bets are off.

    If we knew that the cops would henceforth not enforce speed limits and traffic laws, we'd pretty much obey them, right? Except in extenuating circumstances, like, you know, we overslept. Then we might do 45 in a school zone and kind of sort of roll through a few stop signs where no one was probably coming. We're good drivers, and it's not like we do it all the time. But if we're late, the boss is gonna get pissed, and he's already in a bad mood this week.

    Keeping the executive accountable isn't just for the conscience of the president. It's why we have 2 other branches of government. And they're the ones who are really failing us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 2:24pm

    Re: !!!

    Why are you picking on animals that can't fight back effectively.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    The eejit (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 2:27pm

    Re: You make a good point about priorities

    Let me put it this way (AGAIN):

    There is no such thing as anti-terrorism. There is only State-sanctioned terrorism and non-State-sanctioned terrorism. The US has a massive amount of the former, whereas Afghanistan has more of the latter.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    The eejit (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Doesn't matter (even though you're probably right)

    To paraphrase the Declaration of Independence:

    "When the elected become corrupt, when the land falls to Tyranny, it the the American's right, nay, their duty, to overthrow their Government and start from the beginning."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    gorehound (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: Doesn't matter (even though you're probably right)

    I look forward to the Tar & Feathering that we need to see.Washington is a piece of poop with the lowest Approval Rating.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Mr. Applegate, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are a part of "we"!

    Last time I checked, Banks and Pharmaceutical companies could not VOTE.

    Each person has one vote. Don't vote, don't bitch.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 3:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    but mom thinks I'm cute.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
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    Divide by Zero (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re:

    I've often wondered about that. Amorika doesn't seem to have a left wing. Just varying shades of the same old stuff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 4:34pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Really? It seems the coverage into scandals and real problems has lessened quite a bit as time has gone on.
    They can't be bothered to investigate anything or anyone unless they can make sure it will raise circulation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 4:41pm

    Re: Doesn't matter (even though you're probably right)

    I agree...
    The demise of the United States started with the corruption of privileges. The founders of the country wanted a balanced government with three parties to balance the creation, execution and implementation of laws. Basically the high school teachings' equivalent of our checks and balances system.
    When exactly this started falling apart will probably be debated for years, but it's a given fact that the Executive privilege has been used to conceal rather than protect during both the Obama and Bush administrations.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    ChrisH (profile), Oct 30th, 2012 @ 12:15am

    Re: I'm just gonna say it

    Said the man who helped setup a federal government that did exactly that, trade liberty for security.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    ChrisH (profile), Oct 30th, 2012 @ 12:23am

    Re:

    I agree. The real question we should be asking is if we are getting good value (in terms of lost liberty and monetary costs) for the security measures we have. For example I think the TSA is a complete waste of money and turns air travel into a humiliating experience but I'm perfectly fine with having to drive on the right side of the road instead of it being a choice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
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    ChrisH (profile), Oct 30th, 2012 @ 12:38am

    Re:

    I doubt that it's really possible today to go the other direction. Even if one country reverted to having a much smaller central government through a violent upheaval, it would eventually be conquered or absorbed by one of the remaining countries with a much stronger government. To truly go backwards, it would have to happen on a global scale, but what's the point since the size and scope of government will just naturally increase again?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
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    ChrisH (profile), Oct 30th, 2012 @ 12:46am

    Re:

    Forget or not, we're all probably going to repeat it.

    "All this has happened before, and all this will happen again."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Ser Korz, Oct 30th, 2012 @ 10:05am

    _____"Those willing to give up liberty for security deserve niether and will lose both" ! quote Ben Franklin . [ How true ].

    _Land of the brave going to Hell? That where one goes when one becomes a Godless cowered; Sent there by oneself in ones foolishness. Not by God![ read the chicken little story] .

    _"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing:

    therefore choose life,

    that both thou and thy seed may live: {30:20} That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, [and] that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he [is] thy life, and
    the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land ...." King James Bible Deuteronomy Page 136.
    quote from I Am That I Am.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    F!, Oct 30th, 2012 @ 4:11pm

    Ben is right

    It actually goes further -

    Not only do those who exchange freedom for security deserve neither, but those who exchange freedom for security will lose both.

    Prison may be security for some, but it ain't security for the prisoners.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
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    Seegras (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 9:08am

    Re:

    Like it wouldn't spout fascist ideas of "giving up liberty"?

    You've totally lost perspective. To you, this Obama Bush probably even looks "left-wing". I only see authoritarian extremists. Including that looney that wrote the above Washington-Post article.

    Behold: http://politicalcompass.org/charts/us2012.php
    Where are there the champions of liberty? Well, Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson probably, but they are both not extremely libertarian.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
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    Seegras (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 9:16am

    Re: I'm just gonna say it

    And I'm going to amend it: If you do, you won't get neither.

    Security is also "security from being imprisoned without a charge", security is also "security from not being taken out of your home at night by the secret police", security is also "security from an unfair process", security is also "security from not being bombed by a drone because your neighbour happens to host a wanted criminal", security is also "security from being groped by some customs official". And so on.

    What you get if you give up liberty is a totalitarian state. And you'll will find that in a totalitarian state, you've got no security at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2014 @ 2:55pm

    The quote by Benjamin Franklin that the author has presented was not even written in this context. It was written on the basis of money. Do your research before writing on the topic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2014 @ 2:55pm

    The quote by Benjamin Franklin that the author has presented was not even written in this context. It was written on the basis of money. Do your research before writing on the topic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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